When God becomes flesh

The virgin birth of a Savior; as this week’s message put it, wildly supernatural. And from a sensible, scientific, logical standpoint it’s downright ludicrous. The Hypostatic Union is just a fancy, religious term for something that makes my head hurt just to think about. Jesus was fully and completely God. He was divinity. He was all of the power of creation and life, incarnate. But what does that truly mean?

I love that I can identify with his humanness. His first miracle at a wedding showed his involvement in ordinary life and the daily dealings of those around him. He wept, overcome by grief, when his friend died. He grew angry. He felt hungry and tired. He tried to escape the crowds when they became incessantly demanding. He pleaded with the Father. The Savior of the world didn’t just experience emotions but navigated the raging tumult of them! He didn’t just go through the motions or even get into character as an actor in a pre-scripted narrative. He became flesh; human; man; putting aside his divinity to join us in the dust and unpredictable mess of humanity.

I think too often I focus solely on Christ’s humanity. I get so caught up in the strange beauty of his life and sacrifice for us fellow humans that I forget he was also God. He didn’t just have a sliver of divinity in him. He didn’t transcend after he accomplished his mission on earth through a sacrificial death like the hero of a Greek tragedy. He didn’t pull his Godness out of his back pocket when things got too dicey or uncomfortable.

He was God. He is God. He will always be God. He was present before the beginning of the world. The Father accomplished creation through him, the Word.

The shadow of his imminent coming by virgin birth cast a supernatural hue of hope over every old testament story and through each plot twist. The Savior draws neigh to a desperate, lost world.

The virgin birth was foretold and prophesied as a sign. It was a symbol of impossibility and miracles. It demarcated the Redeemer’s entrance into our realm mystical and supernatural. The Israelites looked and longed for it for hundreds of years. Man and history can’t discount it. I cannot slough it off as an acquiescence to the times or a concession of religious fanatics. It remains necessary for truth and the consistency of all of Scripture, as well as, setting Jesus up as the perfect mediator between God and mankind.

God is God, separate from us. Holy. Other. Pure. Sinless. The essence of Good. I am lost in myself and my iniquity. I am born into this darkness and if I am brutally honest I choose what feels best, what hurts the least, what benefits me the most almost every single time without a second thought or regard for consequence. Both nature and choice render me completely unable to change my status, no matter how much religious fervor I muster.

Redemption needs a mediator.

Christ came as the ultimate mediator between us and God. Much of the New Testament expounds on Christ as the ultimate high priest, offering himself as the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice. He had to live and die fully as man to prove himself an acceptable substitute for our punishment. But alternately, he had to come into this world unblemished by the iniquity in which we are conceived and stalwart against temptation and sin. Because of both his divinity and his humanity he could bridge that gaping hole left by our sin nature and daily choice.

Still, this tension between God and man, natural and supernatural, dances at the edges of my thoughts. Sometimes it feels like looking at the stars. I can see them shimmering as a celestial sheet in all their stark brilliance but when I try to focus on just one it seems to disappear. That does not make it less true and real. Hence, though I do not fully grasp or understand, I put my trust in the inerrancy of Scripture and faith in a supernaturally human Messiah who, sent by the Father, entered this world by a virgin and accomplished my redemption by the Holy Spirit.

And, in turn, I join with those who have gone before and proclaim, “We believe.”


In response to the We Believe message series at Grace Church. Check it out at: http://discovergrace.com/we-believe-current-message-series-and-service-times/